The Personal Parish for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

St Aloysius' Church, 233 Balaclava Road, Caulfield North, 3161


News and Announcements

15th October, 2017

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A Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Victoria


2018 Silence and Song Retreat

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From the Parish Priest's Desk


It was as though some huge force were pressing down upon you – something that penetrated inside your skull, battering against your brain, frightening you out of your beliefs, persuading you, almost, to deny the evidence of your senses. In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense.

George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four


Who would ever have guessed that this nightmarish absurdity prophesied by George Orwell would be fulfilled literally by a senior collaborator of the Pope? And yet, that is what has come to pass. Fr Antonio Spadaro S.J., editor of the semi-official journal of the Holy See, Civiltà Cattolica, has been re-tweeting his now infamous comment on theology: “2+2 = 5” (sic!). It might be something Evelyn Waugh would have come up with, but – sadly - satire seems far removed from Fr Spadaro’s febrile mind. He actually means it! At a Conference on Amoris Laetitia at the Jesuit Boston College on 6th October, Fr Spadaro gave a speech in which he claimed that Pope Francis thinks the Church can no longer maintain “a praxis of integration in a rule that is absolutely to be followed in every instance.” As if this were not enough, Eugenio Scalfari of La Republica, a declared atheist, in his latest interview with Pope Francis (reproduced in the semi-offical Vatican organ, Il Sismografo), quotes Francis as saying: “We believers and of course above all we priests and we bishops believe in the Absolute, but each in their own way because each one has his own head and thought. So our absolute truth, shared by us all, is different from person to person. We do not avoid discussions in the case where our different thoughts confront each other. So there is a kind of relativism among us as well.” For further background go to: https://onepeterfive.com/pope-just-indirectly-answer-prof-seifert-one-dubia/.

We see that moral relativism proceeds from a radical irrationality: a rejection of reason, and of our capacity to know objective reality. The Church is the great defender of both faith and reason – of all Truth, both Divinely revealed, and accessible to us in nature. Just at the moment when our civilisation most requires the moral order to be articulated and defended, we witness the abandonment by many at the highest levels of the Church not only of true morality, but of reason and reality. In that case, all that remains is the will, and the passions. We cannot then be surprised if the love of power foreshadows a dictatorship of relativism in both Church and State.

Fr Glen Tattersall PP

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The following is a continuation of last week’s article by Luisella Scrosati as reproduced from the rorate-caeli.blogspot.com website.

So the Pope requests a re-reading of a consideration by St. Thomas (Summa Theologiae I-II, q. 94, art. 4), which refers indirectly to epikeia, then used again by the Pope in these terms: “It is true that general rules set forth a good which can never be disregarded or neglected, but in their formulation they cannot provide absolutely for all particular situations. At the same time, it must be said that, precisely for that reason, what is part of a practical discernment in particular circumstances cannot be elevated to the level of a rule. That would not only lead to an intolerable casuistry, but would endanger the very values which must be preserved with special care.” Nonetheless, what is this epikeia so clamored for? It is a virtue which permits living according to the good indicated and protected by the law, wherever this results defective on the grounds of its universality. The law, in fact, is by definition, universal: it indicates the common good, without being able to take into account all the imaginable case histories. Thus, unforeseen situations may be presented by the legislator, in which, in order to maintain faithful to the mens of the law (which is the good), it [may] be necessary to act contrarily to the letter of the law. St. Thomas himself gives a simple but very clear example: “Thus the law requires deposits to be restored, because in the majority of cases this is just. Yet it happens sometimes to be injurious—for instance, if a madman were to put his sword in deposit, and demand its delivery while in a state of madness, or if a man were to seek the return of his deposit in order to fight against his country” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 120, a. 1). It is clear: in order to attain the common good promoted by the law, in this case its literal application must necessarily be contravened. St. Thomas explains: Wherefore if a case arise wherein the observance of that law would be hurtful to the general welfare, it should not be observed.” (Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 96, a. 6).

From what has been said, even if necessarily brief, it results clearly that epikeia:

1. is not an exception to the law, nor tolerance of some evil, nor a compromise: it is on the contrary, principle of an objectively good choice and is the perfection of justice;

2. it is a virtue which comes into play only when the application of the letter of the law is harmful to the objective good and not when the observance of the law would result difficult or demanding in some cases;

3. it concerns only a concrete case, which, on the grounds of the universality of the law, was not possible to foresee in the norm and cannot thus derogate from other particular cases already provided by the legislator.

These are those acts which the moral tradition of the Church defines as intrinsece malum: “If acts are intrinsically evil, a good intention or particular circumstances can diminish their evil, but they cannot remove it. They remain "irremediably" evil acts; per se and in themselves they are not capable of being ordered to God and to the good of the person. "As for acts which are themselves sins (cum iam opera ipsa peccata sunt), Saint Augustine writes, like theft, fornication, blasphemy, who would dare affirm that, by doing them for good motives (causis bonis), they would no longer be sins, or, what is even more absurd, that they would be sins that are justified?". (Veritatis Splendor, § 81). It is somewhat singular that this article by St. Thomas alone is referred to in the text of the Exhortation [A.L.], omitting other passages wherein Aquinas explains well the existence of absolute morals and of the impossibility, in this sphere, of appealing to the principle of epikeia. In his Comment to the Letter to the Romans (c. 13, l. 2) for example, Thomas asks for what reason St. Paul, in Romans, 13, 9, reports only the negative precepts of the second table of the Mosaic Law, the one regarding the precepts towards our neighbor, omitting however the commandment “Honour thy father and thy mother”, and he responds: “Given that the negative precepts are as universal as the situations […]given that negative precepts are binding semper ad semper (always and in every circumstance). Under no circumstance in fact, can one rob or commit adultery. The affirmative precepts, by contrast, are binding semper, but not ad semper, but according to the place and circumstance”.

In the Summa Theologiae just after the article cited in the Exhortation, Thomas explains why an appeal to epikeia cannot be made regarding absolute morals: “precepts admit of dispensation, when there occurs a particular case in which, if the letter of the law be observed, the intention of the lawgiver is frustrated. Now the intention of every lawgiver is directed first and chiefly to the common good; secondly, to the order of justice and virtue whereby the common good is preserved and attained. If therefore there by any precepts which contain the very preservation of the common good or the very order of justice and virtue, such precepts contain the intention of the lawgiver, and therefore are indispensable.”( Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 100, a. 8). Again in another passage, Thomas explains that “Epikeia corresponds properly to legal justice” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 120, a. 2, ad. 1) and cannot therefore be taken into consideration in the sphere of natural law, it being superior to legal justice “it is not better than all justice”. (Ivi, ad. 2). We have to be careful moreover trotting out the virtue of prudence, as if this was a virtue which enables finding exceptions: “In the case of the positive moral precepts, prudence always has the task of verifying that they apply in a specific situation, for example, in view of other duties which may be more important or urgent. But the negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behaviour as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the "creativity" of any contrary determination whatsoever. Once the moral species of an action prohibited by a universal rule is concretely recognized, the only morally good act is that of obeying the moral law and of refraining from the action which it forbids.” (V.S. 67). It is this principle that has brought many to martyrdom, rather than commit an evil act. Why? Because prudence does not concretize the universal norm by adapting it to particular cases, but it is the virtue that guides concrete action for it to achieve the good, which is proper to “her”. Prudence, in a certain sense, “recognizes” in a concrete action the good to be attained, the good which is indicated by the law and therefore “she” pursues it.

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Newman Academy: we are continuing to work towards opening a school (ultimately teaching Years 5-12, and employing a classical curriculum). To enable us to move this project forward to readiness for registration, it will be necessary to find part time dedicated administrative staff. In order to be able to budget for this in 2018, we will need to find at least $30,000 in additional income. Those who are able and willing to make a dedicated contribution to this cause are invited to contact Fr Tattersall on a confidential basis. The Academy website provides more details of our vision for what we believe is a vital educational project: http://newmanacademy.org.au.

Newman Fellowship for young adults: we will meet this Saturday, 21st October, at Maryvale. Confessions are heard in the Church from 3.30 pm, while tea & coffee are available in Maryvale from the same time. The meeting commences at 4 pm. The topic will be: “Christus Imperat? Church & State in a liberal secular age”. We will finish with prayers at 6 pm, followed by Supper for those who wish to stay. Young people aged 18 years and over are welcome.

November Masses: In November, the month of the Holy Souls, we especially pray for the Faithful departed. Above all, we have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for their eternal repose. For this purpose, November envelopes are now available in the vestibule. The minimum stipend for one November Mass (by Archdiocesan law) is $20. Put the names of the deceased you wish to be remembered on the envelopes provided and place them in either Sunday collection. Please submit these in October, to ensure that the dead are remembered at all the Masses of November. General Mass intention envelopes are also available in the vestibule, to arrange for Mass to be offered for any other intention.

Christus Rex Pilgrimage, 27th – 29th October 2017. The annual pilgrimage takes place from Ballarat to Bendigo for the Feast of Christ the King. The three day event brings together traditional Catholics from all over Australia and New Zealand. For more information and to register, visit the pilgrimage web site: http://crex.org/wordpress/

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